Fixing the car wtih a paintbrush… or why I need to remember my tool kit.

On the road yesterday, we were taking the family on a trip up north. Well, as far as Tatton Park anyway. We were queueing to get in when suddenly I heard this whining sound from somewhere under the bonnet.

Assuming it was related to the drive train, since the pitch varies with engine speed, I worried a bit but felt unable to tackle it without some advice or preferably a very nice man to help out.

However, this problem was completely overshadowed by a new development. I turned off the engine while we waited, as police constables controlled the traffic flow into the Park, and when my time came the car wouldn’t start. Not just wouldn’t start, was totally dead from an electrical point of view.

A very nice young policeman helped me to wheel it round the corner, and I popped the bonnet.

A terminal had loosened, and the lead had come loose from one side of the battery. No wonder I had no power. I was just about to reach out and reconnect it when I realised that there could be a fair jolt in the battery if I got it wrong and touched both the lead and the battery at the same time.

Going round to the other end of the car, I retrieved an errant paintbrush from the boot detritus and gingerly used it to guide the lead back to its place and hammer it on securely. I admit I didn’t have the means to tighten it off, but given it must have come adrift over time, I thought I’d risk it.

The car duly started. I was duly smug. How many people do you know can fix a car with a paintbrush?

And of course today’s moral is this: carry a toolkit. Just a little one. The classic and performnace car show at Tatton was a just reminder of this. We passed a number of magnificent examples of broken down classic cars on the way out and home; each with the driver, head under bonnet, wielding a spanner.

Carry a toolkit.

Also, carry jump leads, jack, foot pump, hi-viz vest, spare headlamp bulbs, tow-rope, warm clothes and a blanket, dry rations, clean water, flares, fire extinguisher, folding paddle and inflatable raft.


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